There was an interesting review in the Times yesterday [8-29-07], "Dress Like Your Child And the Terrorists Win" by William Grimes. Grimes was reviewing a rather immature book by Diana West named "The Death of the Grown Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization" and published (probably to their embarrassment) by the folks at St. Martin's Press.
There isn't really too much of substance to this book, as Grimes admits. The theory of the book "comes out half-baked" and Ms West doesn't "have the intellectual firepower to make the argument she wants to make." This seems to me to be code for "don't bother to read this book."
What is the argument? Simply put, according to Grimes, the West is "unable and unwilling to confront its enemies" because "Narcissistic baby boomers" have "reversed the maturation process" and act too much like their children. I.e., the spread of "youth culture" and "multiculturalism" is leading us down the path of doom.
The real focus of this jejune rant is Islam. Grimes tells us that Ms West's "grand thesis" is "the West's failure to confront Islam. Not Islamic fundamentalism, not Islamism, but Islam." It is the religion of Islam itself we must confront. Holy Crusaders! What could be more un-grown up and immature than to want to take on a billion people and their faith and blame baggy pants and rock and roll for the failure of "Western Civilization" to do so?
Grimes is right to dismiss the author's "intellectual fire power", but the Times article leaves out some important considerations. Where does the following view come from? I mean, West's view, according to Grimes, that "the threat to the West comes from tenets inherent in Islam, not from extremists or terrorists distorting the message."
In the first place, "the threat to Western Civilization" boils down to resistance in the Islamic world to the dictates of American foreign policy and to being economically exploited by Western capitalist corporations under the guise of "globalization" [AKA Imperialism]. West is right, it isn't just the extremists who oppose exploitation.
But just who is West and what is the background she represents when she speaks of the "West" and the enemies of "our" civilization? Grimes tells us she is a functionary of the Washington Times for which paper she writes columns.
The Washington Times was founded in 1982 by Sung Mymung Moon, who calls himself humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord, and True Parent. It is a moonie publication dedicated, as Moon himself said, to being "the instrument in spreading the truth about God [i.e., himself as Returning Lord] to the world."
The Washington Times hasn't made a dime in profit since its founding and has been subsidized [just as the profitless New York Post has been by Rupert Murdock] to the tune of billions of dollars by moonie organizations and the Unification Church. Sung Mymung Moon keeps this paper in print because he is an extremist ultra-right conservative and represents the interests of right wing extremists, racists and antigay bigots who are proliferating, or at least hoping to, in this country and who use the Washington Times as a venue for moonie sanctioned propaganda.
With billions of his dollars awash in the world of journalism (and politics) it is not surprising that Moon is rarely attacked, has hundreds of writers of the ilk of a Diana West at his disposal, and is even shown respect by the New York Times which, as do many other "main line publications," has former moonie trained staff in its employ.
Grimes knows all this and, had he wanted to (been permitted?), could have pointed out that the true threats to the values of "Western Civilization" and to the positive founding values of the United States itself, are coming, not from people of the Islamic faith, but from our government's own misguided policies aided and abetted by publications, such as the Washington Times, and the self proclaimed Messiahs who use them for their own personal political and religious agendas.